Differentiated Instructional Strategies - One Size Doesn't Fit All
by Gayle H. Gregory & Carolyn Chapman
Chapter 3 - Knowing the Learner
The fact is that we all learn in different ways, process information differently, and have distinct preferences about where, when, and how we learn.
Learning ProfilesA learning profile is a compilation of data to identify and share the ways in which each student learns.
Sweet SpotIn the sports realm, the term "sweet spot" refers to the point or area on a bat, club, or racket at which it makes most effective contact with the ball or a place where a commination of factors result in a maximum response for a given amount of effort.
It is imperative that teachers find the "sweet spot" that will connect the learners with new learning.
To identify the sweet spot, teachers should:
- Create and use surveys or inventories
- Make observations and notes
- Cast a broad set of opportunities so students can find their niche
- Provide strategies so students can reflect on their choices
Seven CategoriesSeven categories should be considered to capture student preferences:
1. Differences in learning
- How do students access, process, and express information?
2. Differences in sensory-based learning
- Is the student an auditory, visual, or tactile learning?
3. Differences in thinking
- Which style of thinking do your students have:
- Concrete Random Thinkers
- Concrete Sequential Thinkers
- Abstract Sequential Thinkers
- Abstract Random Thinkers
- Dynamic Learner
- Commonsense Learner
- Analytical Learner
- Imaginative Learner
4. Differences in multiple intelligences
5. Gender differences
- Provide opportunities for gender-alike groups
- Recognize that girls pay attention and can listen longer than boys
- Provide movement
- Connect more at a verbal, emotional level for girls
- Provide healthy competition
6. Cultural differences
- It is important that we recognize our students' culture and make an effort to understand their beliefs, values, attitudes, and norms.
7. Students' interests
- It is important to connect and relate to what students are learning in their world.
Other factors to consider:
- Noise level - Do students prefer noise or quiet?
- Design structure - What is the arrangement of the room?
- Motivation and persistence - Are students able to engage for long or short periods of time?
- Responsibility - Are they independent or do they need guidance?
- Structure - Do they prefer to have more flexibility or do they need more detail?
- Individual/Peer - Do they like to work worth others or do they prefer to leave alone?